Whitehorsewalks.com vision/mission statement

We're the envy of many places and yet we seem to have little culture of walking. It's not that people don't walk, it's more that there is little community focus on walking. Apart from missing out on fun walking events, such as a walking festival, we miss out on community-building opportunities. When the city looks at subdivisions and other developments, at various plans and by-laws, at creating committees and task forces, there's generally no public advocate looking at things from the broader point of view of walkers.

Our focus on vehicle-dominated travel and its need for more and bigger roads and more and bigger trails comes at the cost of more air pollution, more fossil fuel use, more environmental degradation, and generally, poorer walking opportunities. A lot of the city's trail and greenspace consultation work over the past couple of years has had a motorized vehicle focus, both ATVs and snowmobiles. Cars and their road needs dominates budgets.

Modern electronic lifestyles make us more sedentary, less healthy. The cost of health care is rising and governments encourage us to live healthier lives. Walking is a versatile, free, fun, healthy activity that most people can do. We need to make our city more walkable — developing our walking culture by creating better walking opportunities only makes sense.

This website is an attempt to try to change some of this. As part of trying to create a walking culture, I'm making a reference tool for walking in Whitehorse: ideas that would make walking better; an overview of how the city is structured, which departments look after trails and greenspaces; places to walk, walking guides; ideas for making a stronger walking community; examples from other places. For change to happen, people need to lobby mayor and council, the business community, their friends.

I don't want the focus of the site to be prodding the city to incorporate a walking vision, but rather to be encouraging others to get out and walk. So, there's a lot of stuff about what you'd wonder about when you travel at the pace of a walker: mountains, animals, plants, for instance.

Started Feb. 27, 2012 by Peter Long, last update April 2, 2014.

How the site is organized

The • LEARN from others section has many links about walking, walkability and walk appeal showing the great things other places are doing.

Whitehorse is a large, sparsely populated city, with bears, mosquitoes, rivers, wetlands, cliffs and winter. I'm trying to analyze our Whitehorse walking situation. How do we enhance our culture of walking. Who are the people who walk and why? What do walkers and potential walkers want to make things better? What can encourage people to walk more? This discussion happens in the Building a walking culture section.

I'm trying to build a solid walking guide for Whitehorse. The Walking resource pages section tells places to walk, events with a walking flavour, maps, competitions. One event I'd really like to see is a walking festival. Other places do it to great success; locals are often the biggest participants.

Also in theWalking resource pages are links to local information about the outdoors — from conservation officers to by-law to forest fires, geology, biology, botany, weather and other information that make walkers more comfortable, safe and well-informed. I also try to show the mostly-city level activities that affect walking.

As I hike in different parts of the city, I'm trying to pay attention to trails needs — trail maintenance issues and trails that would add to our walking infrastructure. It's unde the rIdeas to improve walking page.

Also in the Ideas to improve walking page I look at specific ideas that whould make our walking better, from making new neighbourhoods more walkable, to designating important trails, and working with landowners to make a trail happen.

A big use of this site for me is for my own tracking of walking issues. Until Whitehorse has an organization focussed on walking, whitehorsewalks.com is an organization of one.

Who am I?

As part of K-L Services and Lost Moose Publishing I've been involved in lots of local publishing projects, many map/trail/land use in nature.

I like walking and try to fit in a daily walk. I find that street walking just isn't interesting enough for me. Also, I walk neighbours' dogs and they like to be off-leash.

On my companion website, www.yukonviews.com, follow the various links...travel, dogs, plants. Walking and photography link up especially in my plant photographs. Since I like to find new plants, this requires walks in different places. And this also makes me aware of where there are trails and where there are none. It also makes me conscious of more trails getting wrecked through vehicle use, or benign neglect.

I've been a long-time map aficionado and the advent of Google Earth has opened up many great possibilities. While still in its infancy, the capabilities for the average computer user are astounding. As imagery improves, both in clarity and how current it is, usability will only get better. I've been layering in OCP information, Zoning, planning, motorized and other trail routes, land use and many other things that help understand the city.

I'm also quite interested in understanding the outdoors, so enjoy learning about the broader topics of geography and biology and botany. Explaining the outdoors is also interesting and internet gives many ways of doing this, both in bringing information together and in synthesizing new ways of looking.

I'm also enjoy the creative process. How can I make a useful tool for a community?

Peter Long, pjl at whitehorsewalks.com

Blog archives: 2012 2013

How to make this site a long-term community resource?

- Many possibilities ranging from 1-person, me, to a few people, to...
- Volunteer vs grants (grant-type projects more complex)
- Burn-out, shared workload, costs, liability, needed skills

Site could have
- survey
- bulletin board/forum — there is no city forum on walking and the city trail infrastructure.